Governor Rick Perry and the Texas Legislature will once again attempt to pass a late term abortion bill that State Senator Wendy Davis thwarted through an eleven hour filibuster at the end of the first special session of the Legislature last week.
Some on the left are championing Davis as a folk hero with a future in national political politics. Money is pouring into Davis’s campaign coffers and the pink tennis shoes she wore in her marathon speech on the Senate floor are selling out everywhere.
To the left, she’s a hero. To me, she’s a goat.
First, she is spending considerable post-filibuster time doing interviews in which she lambasts Perry for his “blatant political ambitions” allegedly at the expense of the women of Texas. Meanwhile, when asked, she’s at least honest enough to confirm that she has statewide political aspirations of her own. No one has asked her, but we can assume that this Harvard educated lawyer probably could imagine herself pursuing even higher office at some point. Can we then argue that she’s merely attempting to score political points for her own ambition by crusading for the deaths of unborn children? Is her constant attack on Perry for being “political” the height of hypocrisy?
Wendy Davis is the product of a single mother and was a teenage mom herself. That’s her background and the place from which she champions her cause.
I’m the mother of a now 17-year-old son who was born ten weeks premature and spent the first seven weeks of his life in the neonatal intensive care unit at a hospital in Dallas, Texas. While there, I spent practically every hour of every day surrounded by babies delivered post twenty weeks gestation. Nearly all of them lived. I presume most of them will, like my son, graduate next year from high school and go on to college.
Anyone who wants to stand up and talk for eleven straight hours fighting to abort babies at post twenty weeks gestation should at least spend an equal amount of time in a NICU one day and see some of these babies. Since they have no voice of their own, it’s about as close a statement they can make that at this stage in their development they have a right to live.
I might be wrong, but I’m willing to bet that the only NICU unit Wendy Davis has ever seen is on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. I doubt she’s ever held a baby born at post-twenty weeks and before forty weeks gestation. If she did, I don’t think she could have stood up for eleven minutes let alone eleven hours and make the arguments she made last week.
The law proposed for Texas is not radical as some are trying to argue. Many states have similar laws and Western European countries have similar restrictions. Nothing proposed in the legislation would violate Roe v. Wade which made viability the point at which the fetus and the mother each have recognized rights. With medical science advancing tremendously, the timing of such viability is getting earlier every day.
Wendy Davis may get what she wants—a national political profile but she’ll do it at her own peril. On this issue, history will judge her and I don’t think history will ultimately prove too kind.